Herbs that heal
Winter healing elixirs
Cold nights, rainy days and sniffles marks the beginning of Winter for many areas in Australia. Time to curl up, hibernate and contemplate beside warm open fires – if only, here in Brisbane! Winter still have an insult for many on their immune systems. Time to rejuvenate and enjoy some easy to make herbal elixirs that warm and heal….
Help the sniffles, digestion and general colds….
Winter Wellness Elixir
- 700mL Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (one with the Mother)
- ¼ cup garlic, finely chopped
- ¼ cup onion, finely chopped
- 1-2 fresh red or green (if you prefer less hot) chillies, seeds removed, finely chopped
- ¼ ginger, peeled and grated
- 2 Tablespoons turmeric powder (organic) or 2 pieces of fresh turmeric finely chopped
- 1/3 cup dried or fresh calendula flowers (optional)
- Sterilize a mason jar (2-3 cup) and set aside.
- Combine all ingredients in a bowel – except the vinegar.
- Transfer the mixture to a mason jar.
- Pour over the apple cider vinegar to the top. Ideally you will have 2/3 dried and fresh ingredients and 1/3 vinegar.
- Close and shake well.
- Keep the jar in a cool dry place for two weeks. Shake at least twice daily.
- After two weeks, strain the liquid through a fine sieve or strainer or muslin cotton gauze. Squeeze all ingredients tightly if using the cloth to ensure all ingredients have been used.
- Take 1 tablespoon every day to strengthen immunity and fight colds over winter.
- Caution: This is very hot and strong (especially with 2 chillies!) and not recommended for infants or children.
- Swallow and eat a slice of cucumber, lemon or lime afterward or plain yoghurt which is cooling.
- Do not dilute with water as it will dilute the effects.
- Check with your naturopath before taking this if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Take after breakfast and start low and increase slowly for best benefits.
Lemon Ginger Elixir
- 2 lemons, organic, washed and thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup sliced fresh ginger root
- 4 cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
- 1/4 cup raw honey, organic
- 10 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 clove buds
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- In a mason jar (med size), layer lemon slices, fresh ginger, cinnamon stick pieces and thyme. Pour honey over the lemon slices, letting it slowly seep to the bottom of the jar. Pour fresh lemon juice over the top. Cover and refrigerated for 3 days before using. Store in the fridge for up to 1 month.
- To serve, place some liquid and a few slices of lemon and ginger into the bottom of a mug. Top with warm water to make the tea.
Highly anti-inflammatory and antioxidant tonic.
- 4 inch piece fresh turmeric or two teaspoons organic dried turmeric
- 3 inch piece of ginger or one tablespoon organic powdered ginger
- 3 lemons, peeled
- 750 mL coconut water
- Organic unfiltered honey to desired sweetness
- dash cayenne
Juice the turmeric, ginger, and lemons or for the dried add powders to juiced lemon and coconut water. Gently heat honey, coconut and powders in a saucepan over low heat to ensure all powders are combined. Do not heat if you are using raw turmeric or ginger. Add the cayenne and stir well to combine. Store in the fridge for up to three days.
Elderberry Calendula Cold and Flu Elixir
- 1 cup fresh (or 2/3 cup dried) calendula flowers
- 2/3 cup dried elderberries
- 1/2 cup fresh (or 1/3 cup dried) elderflowers
- 1/2 cup fresh (or 1/3 cup dried) rose hips
- 2 tablespoons fresh (or 1 tablespoon dried) orange peel
- 1 tablespoons fresh (or 1 teaspoon dried) ginger
- Honey (organic)
- Fill a clean, sterilized mason jar (4 cup capacity) with herbs.
- Add brandy, pouring until herbs covered by 1-2 inches of brandy and jar is approximately 3/4 full.
- Add honey, leaving 1 inch of space at the top of the jar.
- Poke chopstick into jar to release any trapped air bubbles and ensure brandy and honey are coating herbs.
- Put cap on and label jar with ingredients and date.
- Let steep for 4-6 weeks in a cool, dark place, shaking daily.
- Filter elixir by pouring through a fine mesh filter or several layers of cheesecloth over a bowl or wide-mouth jar. Press the marc (plant material) to squeeze out every last drop of elixir.
- Compost the marc and cap and label the elixir.
At the first symptoms of a cold or flu coming on, take 2-3 teaspoons of elixir every two to three hours. Frequent doses are the key to effective treatment! Listen to your body to tailor the dosage to your needs.
Due to its immune-building, antimicrobial nature and high vitamin C content, this elixir can also be used as a preventative for colds and flus. If your friends, family or coworkers start sniffing and sneezing or moaning and groaning with cold and flu symptoms, try 2-3 teaspoons two or three times a day.
Elderberry Calendula Cold and Flu Elixir Recipe courtesy of The Herbal Academy
Herbalist Karen Green can assist you with your next herbal for specifically tailored for your health
Rosemary The Natural Protector
Rosemary the natural protector, delicately blooms in Spring here in Brisbane. A favourite herb featured in stuffings for Xmas it’s was time to shed some light on its beneficial therapeutic properties.
It is an evergreen bush that is most often used in cooking however it has a wonderful woodsy heady scent that is great in air fresheners and aromatherapy mixes. It is an especially great herb to add to meats where it pairs exceptionally well with lamb.
In old herbal texts it is referred to as Dew of the sea, Elf leaf, and Sea dew and is considered a masculine herb, that has powers of protection, love, increases mental alertness and purification.
In modern day herbalism, Rosmarinus officinalis (botanical name), is used to improve memory, alertness, concentration and mental performance. It possesses antimicrobial and antioxidant properties and acts as a liver protective, circulatory stimulant and improves overall conditions such as dyspepsia (indigestion). It does this through improving biliary (bile flow) and liver clearance enhancing phase II liver detoxification. It can be used to ease headaches and depression.
If you would like to carry the essence of this wonderful universal herb, place infusions or essential oil in hand washes. Placing sprigs under the pillow is said to ‘ensure a good sleep and drives away nightmares’. Rosemary was hung on the porch and door posts to keep thieves from the house in ancient wisdom, and it was carried to remain healthy. Perhaps keeping a pot at the front door may be a useful protector of your home today!
There’s plenty to celebrate with Rosemary that’s for sure. Next time your are in clinic ask me about tailoring your own personalised mix and why not include this magical herb.
Rosemary & Lemon Salt Rub
- 1 1/4 cups salt, Celtic, Himalayan or a good quality sea salt
- 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, organic Australian first pressed (if possible)
- Juice of 1 lemon, remove the pips
- Zest of one lemon
- 2-3 sprigs of rosemary, finely diced or vitamised
- Garlic, one or two cloves, finely diced
- Roll the lemon over the chopping board to loosen the pith (this enables more juice to be extracted). Grate the zest of one lemon, and juice the lemon.
- Add to the salt. Finely blitz or chop 2-3 sprigs of rosemary (depends on the size, more means stronger flavour & aroma)
- Mix and blend together thoroughly. Use this as a rub over roast or beef or chicken if desired. Will keep for approx. 2 weeks in the fridge.
Natural Body Scrub: Replace the salt with Epson Salts for an excellent rosemary and lemon body rub. I would use macadamia nut, sweet almond oil or apricot oil instead of olive oil which is a heavy oil for the body. Remove the garlic.
Quality Stuffing Recipes
Nigella’s best turkey stuffing https://www.nigella.com/recipes/members/nells-the-best-turkey-stuffing-ever
Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Turkey http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/turkey-recipes/jamie-s-christmas-turkey/
The best rosemary recipes: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/mar/08/10-best-rosemary-recipes